Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hacked Emails on Geoengineering

At least these emails, hacked as they are, are refreshingly candid and also recent.  They are confronting the same reality in the data that I have been posting on.  They cannot explain why for a full decade temperatures have at best been flat.  If they cannot explain that, then sharply reducing the CO2 going into the atmosphere is simply unjustified and unprovable in its effect.  That is what is implied by the term ‘geoengineering’
I will not comment on the curious ethics on display.  What is relevant here is that these boys are intellectually confused.  This is not an uncommon position for a researcher.  The data is both insufficient and contradictory.  And previous conjectures are obviously falling apart.
The problem with climate is that it is almost impossible on a given day to say anything intelligent about it at all.  And upon investigating it, one succumbs to the natural temptation to look at the weather.  Practically one needs several viable proxies that cover the whole globe and then you need to actually trust them while checking them infrequently. That is a tall order.
One good thing about this unwanted disclosure is that we can now have a time out on the propaganda war and the scientists can go back and do the necessary science to repair the obvious damage inflicted.
Recent Emails by Climate Researchers
From: Kevin Trenberth 
Here are some of the issues as I see them:  Saying it is natural variability is not an explanation.  What are the physical processes? Where did the heat go?  We know there is a build up of ocean heat prior to El Nino, and a discharge (and sfc T warming) during late stages of El Nino, but is the observing system sufficient to track it?  Quite aside from the changes in the ocean, we know there are major changes in the storm tracks and teleconnections with ENSO, and there is a LOT more rain on land during La Nina (more drought in El Nino), so how does the albedo change overall (changes in cloud)?  At the very least the extra rain on land means a lot more heat goes into evaporation rather than raising temperatures, and so that keeps land temps down: and should generate cloud.  But the resulting evaporative cooling means the heat goes into atmosphere and should be radiated to space: so we should be able to track it with CERES data.  The CERES data are unfortunately wonting and so too are the cloud data.  The ocean data are also lacking although some of that may be related to the ocean current changes and burying heat at depth where it is not picked up.  If it is sequestered at depth then it comes back to haunt us later and so we should know about it.
Michael Mann wrote:
Kevin, that's an interesting point. As the plot from Gavin I sent shows, we can easily      account for the observed surface cooling in terms of the  natural variability seen in the CMIP3 ensemble (i.e. the observed cold dip falls well within it). So in that sense, we can "explain" it. But this raises the interesting question, is there something going on here w/ the energy & radiation budget which is inconsistent with the modes of internal variability that leads to similar temporary cooling periods within the models. I'm not sure that this has been addressed--has it?
On Oct 14, 2009, at 10:17 AM, Kevin Trenberth wrote:
 Hi Tom
How come you do not agree with a statement that says we are no where close to knowing where energy is going or whether clouds are changing to make the planet brighter.  We are not close to balancing the energy budget.  The fact that we can not account for what is happening in the climate system makes any consideration of geoengineering quite hopeless as  we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not!  It is a travesty!
Tom Wigley wrote:
Dear all,
At the risk of overload, here are some notes of mine on the recent lack of warming. I look at this in two ways. The first is to look at the difference between the observed and expected anthropogenic trend relative to the pdf for unforced variability. The second is to remove ENSO, volcanoes and TSI variations from the observed data.
Both methods show that what we are seeing is not unusual. The second method leaves a significant warming over the past decade.
These sums complement Kevin's energy work.
 Kevin says ... "The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment     and it is a travesty that we can't". I do not agree with this.
Kevin Trenberth wrote:
 Hi all
 Well I have my own article on where the heck is global warming?  We are asking that here in Boulder where we have broken records the past two days for the coldest days on     record. We had 4 inches of snow.  The high the last 2 days was below 30F and the normal is 69F, and it smashed the previous records for these days by 10F.  The low was about 18F and also a record low, well below the previous record low.  This is January weather (see the Rockies baseball playoff game was canceled on saturday and then played last  night in below freezing weather).
Trenberth, K. E., 2009: An imperative for climate change planning: tracking Earth's     global energy. /Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability/, *1*, 19-27,     doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2009.06.001. [PDF]
(A PDF of the published version can be obtained from the author.)
     The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a     travesty that we can't.  The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong.  Our     observing system is inadequate.
 That said there is a LOT of nonsense about the PDO.  People like CPC are tracking PDO on a monthly basis but it is highly correlated with ENSO.  Most of what they are seeing is  the change in ENSO not real PDO.  It surely isn't decadal.  The PDO is already reversing with the switch to El Nino.  The PDO index became positive in September for first time  since Sept 2007.   see
     [2]http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/GODAS/ocean_briefing_gif/global_ocean_monitorin g_current.ppt
Michael Mann wrote:
extremely disappointing to see something like this appear on BBC.  its particularly odd,  since climate is usually Richard Black's beat at BBC (and he does a great job). from     what I can tell, this guy was formerly a weather person at the Met Office.
We may do something about this on RealClimate, but meanwhile it might be appropriate for the Met Office to have a say about this, I might ask Richard Black what's up here?
 On Oct 12, 2009, at 2:32 AM, Stephen H Schneider wrote:
Hi all. Any of you want to explain decadal natural variability and signal to noise and     sampling errors to this new "IPCC Lead Author" from the BBC?  As we enter an El Nino year and as soon, as the sunspots get over their temporary--presumed--vacation worth a  few tenths of a Watt per meter squared reduced forcing, there will likely be another dramatic upward spike like 1992-2000. I heard someone--Mike Schlesinger maybe??--was  willing to bet alot of money on it happening in next 5 years?? Meanwhile the past 10 years of global mean temperature trend stasis still saw what, 9 of the warmest in  reconstructed 1000 year record and Greenland and the sea ice of the North in big     retreat?? Some of you observational folks probably do need to straighten this out as my   student suggests below. Such "fun", Cheers, Steve
     Stephen H. Schneider
     Melvin and Joan Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies,
     Professor, Department of Biology and
     Senior Fellow, Woods Institute for the Environment
          Websites:  climatechange.net
     ----- Forwarded Message -----
     From: "Narasimha D. Rao" 
     To: "Stephen H Schneider" 
     Sent: Sunday, October 11, 2009 10:25:53 AM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific
     Subject: BBC U-turn on climate
 You may be aware of this already. Paul Hudson, BBC's reporter on climate change, on
 Friday wrote that there's been no warming since 1998, and that pacific oscillations will
 force cooling for the next 20-30 years. It is not outrageously biased in presentation as
 are other skeptics' views.
     BBC has significant influence on public opinion outside the US.
     Do you think this merits an op-ed response in the BBC from a scientist?

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